[RAS Persian 258] Gulistan of Sa’di

One of the finest illustrated manuscripts contained within the collections of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland is the Gulistan (Rose Garden) composed by the renowned Persian poet Sa‘di (1203-1292). It is noted not only for its exquisite paintings of birds and animals which decorate the pages of the text but also for its colophon portrait which depicts the eminent scribe Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmiri known as Zarrin Qalam (Golden Pen) and the artist, Manohara as a youth, who later had a long and illustrious career at the court of Shah Jehan (1592-1666).

The manuscript comprises 128 folios and measures 31.8 x 20.3 cm and was copied in 990 Hijra (26th January 1582 – 24th January 1583) in Fatehpur Sikri during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). It entered the collections of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1841, bequeathed by Neil Benjamin Edmonstone (1797-1841) who was employed by the East India Company and was a member of the Supreme Council in Calcutta between 1812-17 and later became a director in 1820.

This manuscript was digitized thanks to the support of Dr Barbara Brend. It is also available online at Cambridge University Digital Library:

The miniature paintings from this manuscript are also available here: //

Please note that the digital library paginates manuscripts left to right, even when the manuscripts display from right to left. This means that the manuscripts start on the last numbered page, and progress with the left arrow takes the viewer with lowering page numbers to the end of the manuscript. Folio numbers are to be found in a concordance here: Gulistan Concordance. Folio numbers are to used in all academic work and for ordering images.